It's not often I'm completely shocked by a tire test, but this years AMS EV tire vs normal tire test has me stumped.
Why? Let me run a few things past you. The Michelin e.Primacy was best in wet braking, beating both the Continental SportContact 7 and Bridgestone Potenza Sport, which usually ace that test. The Michelin e.Primacy also beat the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV overall, which has won every other test it's featured in, and Continental won the test twice!
The concept for the test seems relatively straightforward - get a bunch of the best performance tires on the market and test them against the newest ultra low rolling resistance / EV tires, the Michelin e.Primacy, the Falken eZiex and the Pirelli Scorpion Elect.
Things get l little more complicated as AMS also included the Kia EV6 OE version of the Continental PremiumContact 6, and the acoustic foam version of the Michelin Pilot Sport SUV. And they used two test vehicles, an EV Kia EV6 and a diesel Kia Sorento. Quite which did what escapes me, so if you want to know you should go check out the full AMS test on their website or magazine.
|Dry Braking||▲Continental Premium Contact 6: 34.1 M||▼Pirelli Scorpion Elect: 36.6 M|
|Dry Handling||▲Continental SportContact 7: 91.9 Km/H||▼Pirelli Scorpion Elect: 88.8 Km/H|
|Wet Braking||▲Michelin e.Primacy: 23.9 M||▼GT-Radial SportActive 2 SUV: 26.9 M|
|Wet Handling||▲Bridgestone Potenza Sport: 51.6 Km/H||▼Pirelli Scorpion Elect: 49.1 Km/H|
|Wet Circle||▲Bridgestone Potenza Sport: 8.97 m/s||▼Pirelli Scorpion Elect: 8.38 m/s|
|Straight Aqua||▲Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV: 83.8 Km/H||▼Falken e.Ziex: 81.3 Km/H|
|Curved Aquaplaning||▲Bridgestone Potenza Sport: 9.14 m/sec2||▼Falken e.Ziex: 7.2 m/sec2|
|Noise||▲Michelin e.Primacy: 71.9 dB||▼Bridgestone Potenza Sport: 73.5 dB|
|Price||▲Maxxis Victra Sport VS5 SUV: 177||▼Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV: 400|
|Rolling Resistance||▲Falken Azenis FK520: 5.7 kg / t||▼Bridgestone Potenza Sport: 9.1 kg / t|
|Energy Consumption||▲Falken e.Ziex: 13.2 kWh/100km||▼Bridgestone Potenza Sport: 16.1 kWh/100km|
Wet braking is the test that's raised the most eyebrows in the industry. Traditionally the wet performance of a tire is an opposing requirement of rolling resistance / energy use, highlighted by the fact the the Michelin e.Primacy has never had a good wet braking result against its rivals. Don't believe me? Check out the other tests linked from here.
In this test, the e.Primacy was not only best of the other EV tires, it was best of all the tires! Perhaps it was something to do with the rather large 255/45 R20 tire size tested, or perhaps it was due to a very high grip wet braking surface (look at the distances!) but the data had the e.Primacy at the top, and the new Falken eZiex in second, both ahead of their much higher rolling resistance counter parts, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV and Falken Azenis FK520.
Fortunately wet handling had the tires in a more expected order, with the ultra low rolling resistance tires struggling to get the Kia around the lap compared to the wet master, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport.
The ultra low rolling resistance tires were also amongst the worst in the aquaplaning tests, which is often a feature of the shallower starting tread depth and less water channels of tires designed to save energy.
Dry braking had both the Continental products at the front, with four tires tied for fourth place!
The sport-bias UHP tires led the way in the dry handling laps, with the Continental SportContact 7 having an impressive margin.
The magazine tested the rolling resistance of the tires, which is a machine test, and the energy consumption in the real world using the Kia EV6.
The EV tires led the real world test, with the Falken Azenis FK520 tying with the eZiex on the drum test. As we've seen before, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport isn't the tire to buy if you care about your energy use!
The three EV tires also had the lowest external passby noise, another feature of the low tread depth, BUT the testers did comment that the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV with acoustic foam was noticeably quieter in the cabin meaning the sound deadening foam applied to the inside of the tire was doing its job well.
There was quite a range in tire prices, with Michelin being the two most expensive products in the test.
Please note: Continental claim the SportContact 7 should have over 7mm of tread depth, but in the interest of fairness, I've databased what was listed in the magazine. Based on my own measurements in a different tire size of the SC7, it seems most likely that the magazine is incorrect.
1st: Continental SportContact 7
Maximum aquaplaning safety, very balanced wet safety with strong understeer, works well with the ESP control system. Very short braking distances dry.
Strong understeer even in the dry, increased tire noise.
The SC7 is a sporty, efficient all-rounder with high safety reserves.
2nd: Continental Premium Contact 6
Very short dry braking, Safe balance, good handling in the wet and in the dry. Very low drive-by and interior noise.
Compared to the Conti SC 7, the steering behavior is more sluggish, the tendency to understeer is more pronounced and the level of grip is somewhat lower.
The Kia EV6 OE version of PC6 was tested in this test. It is very quiet on the EV6 - technically no longer up to date as the PC7 is on the market.
Read Reviews Buy from £212.29
3rd: Michelin e.Primacy
Best braking in the wet, very low rolling resistance and quiet rolling noise. Easily controllable tire with safe understeer tendency.
Poor ride comfort with low self-damping.
The e.Primacy is the best choice for high-quality, comfortable e-models - but it's expensive.
Read Reviews Buy from £264.00
4th: Falken e.Ziex
Very short braking distances on wet and dry roads, very low rolling resistance and quiet rolling noise.
Too much focus on safety and efficiency criteria resulting in a sluggish response. Increased risk of slipping deeper water.
The new Falken e.Ziex is a smooth-running and safe newcomer with a good price-performance ratio.
5th: Bridgestone Potenza Sport
Outstanding cornering grip on wet and dry roads, combined with very precise handling characteristics - a very sporty tire.
Long braking distances in the wet, sensitive to temperature. Increased rolling resistance and louder pass-by noise, somewhat rumbling in the cabin.
The Potenza Sport is the sportiest tire in the field - the tire to buy when efficiency isn't a priority.
Read Reviews Buy from £204.79
6th: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV
Good aquaplaning protection, outstanding ride comfort and very quiet interior noise.
Slightly longer braking distances in the dry, marginal dynamic weaknesses in wet handling. Slightly increased rolling resistance. Increased pass-by noise.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV Acoustic Tested - Very quiet internal noise - more suited to combustion cars than EVs.
Read Reviews Buy from £226.69
7th: Falken Azenis FK520
Good braking and decent cornering grip in the wet. Comparatively active, safe handling dry, quiet and comfortable on the inside.
Basically a bit sluggish when turning, indifferent, unbalanced wet handling, longer braking distances on a dry track.
The FK520 is a comparatively cheaper all-rounder with only small weaknesses.
Read Reviews Buy from £194.50
8th: Maxxis Victra Sport VS5 SUV
Proper cornering and safe handling in the wet, even when changing loads. Balanced, safe and quite precise handling dry.
Longer braking distances on wet and dry roads, slightly increased rolling resistance.
The Victra Sport 5 SUV has a slightly reduced level of performance at a fair price.
9th: Pirelli Scorpion Elect
Largely safe, understeering behavior in the dry, very quiet pass-by noise, good fuel efficiency, decent ride comfort.
Long braking distances in the dry, sluggish steering, limited grip and poor steering precision in the wet.
The Scorpion Elect demands too many compromises for its increased range.
10th: GT Radial SportActive 2 SUV
Good aquaplaning protection, safe lane changes in the dry, very quiet and comfortable tire in the car.
Too long braking distances in the wet (devaluation), poorly balanced wet handling with oversteer and understeer, seems a bit overwhelmed when driven in a sporty manner given the high vehicle weight.
The cheap SportActive 2 fails with too long braking distances.